Almost Home Free. STEELERS WIN

It’s 2:30 in the morning, Tom and Jerry re-runs are on my TV (as though there might be new episodes coming out sometime soon) and my wifi is near dead for some reason. Let’s get down to business (although there are no huns to defeat). The Steelers blew out a bad team and there isn’t much more to say about it. Meanwhile the Penguins were getting the biggest win of the season thus far in fantastic fashion, so there isn’t a whole lot about this game to discuss. However, I’m still here, recapping it for you. So take the jump, why don’t you?


NFL Network starts off with some unreal UFC metaphors before kickoff. We get Joe Theismann and Matt Millen instead of Pompeani and Nelson. The wheel-of-announcers is not kind.

Right out of the gate, Millen can’t complete a sentence about Clausen. Just in case the first drive had you thinking the Panthers might have found an offense in 2010, they false start twice and punt.

Mike Green scores a goal against the Penguins on their 50th powerplay of the game.

Mendenhall breaks off a 36 yard run and Mike Wallace picks up 15 yards with a catch. Carolina already backpedaling. Heath Miller snags a pass and shakes off two defenders. The O-line misses a play and 6 guys tackle Mendy in the backfield. Tomlin doesn’t hesitate to pull Jon Scott in favor of Trai Essex.

Getting the “bad goalie” treatment. Ouch.

Ben scrambles. Sanders comes back for the ball. He gets his hands on it but doesn’t hold on when he hits the ground. Field goal. 3-0.

The kickoff team gives up a huge return to the 43. Clausen rolls out and some fullback makes a pretty wicked catch. Somewhere in there KDKA switched from HD back to standard. The Panthers go to the wildcat on 3rd & 2. Surprise: a direct snap to the running back results in a run. James Farrior shuts that down.


Too short to punt and too long for the field goal, the Panthers go for it on 4th & 5. Farrior gets in the backfield and takes Clausen’s legs out from under him. Steelers take over.

Mendenhall catches a ball and steamrolls some DB. He can be scary in space. Steelers end up in a 3rd & 18. Ben gets swarmed and three or four guys land on him. He gets another nose injury. that must be annoying.

I make fun of McFadden a lot for playing so far off the line of scrimmage. But that also means he doesn’t get beaten deep very much. Clausen doesn’t know that and McFadden outruns his receiver to the ball. Interception.

Joe Theismann talks about air in Roethlisberger’s helmet and how they inflate air packets for extra padding around the QBs head as NFLN shows a shot of a tube going into the top of his helmet on the sideline.

Wallace gets a ball in space and shifts into his extra gear. Blazes through everyone to the end zone. 10-0.

A few possessions later, Carolina recovers a weird fumbled snap. NFL Network or KDKA is off their game and the broadcast keeps losing audio and switching quality.

Manny Sanders finally draws a penalty for pass interfer- wait no, that flag is on Flozell Adams for a facemask. 1st & 25. Sanders ends up beating his man for the first down anyway. He makes another great play to catch a ball near the goal line. Mendenhall finishes the deal. 17-0. The Pens go to overtime.

Clausen throws his 5th almost-interception of the night. The Panthers punt.

Mike Wallace out-jumps his defender for a big play. Ben overthrows a receiver on two straight plays in the end zone. Sanders can’t convert an underneath route into a first down. Ben tries to draw the defense offside for a free first down. It doesn’t work. Suisham is automatic. 20-0.

No idea what happened after that because I had to get my TV over to FSN for the Pens’ shootout.


I hope you like running up the middle on every down.


Steelers start with the ball. They go for it on 4th & 1. John Fox burns a timeout getting his substitutions in. Mendenhall gets the unofficial yellow line on TV, but not the marker on the sideline, and that’s the marker that counts. Turnover on downs after Tomlin loses the challenge.

Clausen takes a timeout on third down because no one on the offense knows what formation to be in. Sack. Punt. Carolina takes two penalties. 12 men on the field and pass interference in the end zone. Ben does it himself on third down. 27-0.

Timmons misses a sack but Brett Keisel cleans it up. Antonio Brown runs backwards on the punt return. Doesn’t work. The Steelers don’t do anything on the ensuing possession. Punt.


Brown keeps running backwards on punt returns. NFL Network mentions the Cros-vechkin rivalry and somehow doesn’t allude to the game between them that had just ended. The Steelers punt and a man named Captain runs it all the way to the 23.

Ryan Mundy plays some sick defense on Dante Rosario. Kasay breaks the shutout with a field goal. 27-3.

Isaac Redman fumbles. Better now than on 4th & 2 in the AFC Championship. Matt Millen and Joe Theismann start arguing about whether or not Theismann knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t, but somehow Matt Millen is still wrong about it.

Randle El is predictably back in to fair catch punts after Brown’s negative net yardage. This actual conversation happens:

Papa: Ben has all these injuries, why is he still in the game?
Theismann: This isn’t college football where you want to give the backup some snaps! This is the NFL!
Yes, Joe, because it’s a question of getting someone playing time, not preserving Ben from further injury like he suggested a full second before you started making up comments. No idea why they left him in the game.

The Steelers sit on the ball after the two-minute warning. Game over.

  • This was totally not the game to watch. The Penguins are unbelievable.
  • Always good to blow out a bad team. No playing down to their level like we saw against the Bills.
  • I didn’t mention The Daily Show with Jon Stewart once in this recap. I am ashamed of myself.
  • Deion Sanders claims that the Baltimore Ravens are the only team with a good chance of beating New England. I don’t disagree. Root for that playoff matchup.
  • I’m not quite used to this newfangled website yet, formatting might be a little off here and there.

About Brian Schaich

Brian studied computer engineering long enough to know he just wanted to talk about sports all day for a living, so that's what he does.